Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of July 17th.

Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!

Authors, narrators, producers, and publishers — any of the books featured here are prime candidates for review.
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Relentless by Jonathan Maberry

Relentless by Jonathan Maberry
Narrated by Ray Porter
Macmillan Audio

Read my review of book one (which I called one of the best books I read in 2019)

In New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry’s thrilling Relentless, Rogue Team International joins Joe Ledger in a new hunt that spans the globe and journeys deep into the terrifying landscape of the human heart.

Joe Ledger’s world has been torn apart. The people closest to him have been savagely murdered, and Ledger is on the hunt for the killers. His already fragile psyche has cracked apart, allowing a dangerous darkness to overwhelm him.

His hunt takes him deep into the world of the deadly black-market weapons sales, and standing in his way are a new generation of private military contractors. These mercenaries have been enhanced with cutting-edge cybernetics and chemical enhancements, transforming them into real-world super soldiers. Stronger, faster, harder to hurt, and fitted with built-in weapons. They are beyond anything Joe has ever faced.

But he is not the Joe Ledger they expected to fight. He is defined by the Darkness now. The attempt to destroy him – to break him – has backfired. Instead his enemies have turned him into a far more fearsome weapon.

Everyone is out for blood.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Griffin

The Dark by Jeremy Robinson

The Dark by Jeremy Robinson
Narrated by R.C. Bray
Podium Audio

Reviews of Jeremy Robinson Titles
Reviews of R.C. Bray Titles

From New York Times and number one Audible best-selling duo Jeremy Robinson and R.C. Bray comes a horrifying revelation about the centuries-old Three Days of Darkness prophecy, during which the legions of Hell will be unleashed on Earth….

There shall come over the whole Earth, an intense darkness lasting three days and three nights.

Miah Gray is a 27-year-old former army soldier living in rural New Hampshire with his sister, mother, and her boyfriend. He is plagued by PTSD, finding solace, but not redemption, with the aid of prescribed cannabis. All he wants to do is get high, relax with a good sandwich, and watch a meteor shower with his neighborhood crush, Jen.

He who opens his window or door out of curiosity, or leaves his home, will fall dead on the spot.

When the sun’s light is blotted out the following morning and the world is plunged into darkness, Miah finds himself locked down with his family, covering windows with trash bags, lighting candles, and following the arcane rules of an ancient prophecy. But there is no escaping what comes next.

The air will be infected by demons, appearing in all sorts of hideous forms.

A brilliant flash of light fills the sky, leaving Miah changed and an Old Norse death rune etched onto his forehead. He fears he has been marked for death until the neighborhood’s parents start disappearing and he’s left behind. Leading Jen and a ragtag group of parentless kids, Miah hunts for answers and for their parents while trying to keep his sister safe. He charges headlong down a path that will take him to the gates of Hell…and then straight through.

All of Hell will be let loose.

The Dark is a mind-bending, character-driven sci-fi-infused horror novel like no other.

In Beta by Prescott Harvey

In Beta by Prescott Harvey
Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
Audible Studios

Stranger Things by way of William Gibson, In Beta is an irreverent sci-fi thriller that will remind you how much you miss the ’90s.

It’s the summer of 1993. The radio is a strange mix of Duran Duran, Nirvana, and House of Pain. An organization called the World Wide Web has just been set up to manage something called the internet. And the most popular computer game in the world is SimCity 2000.

For Cascadia High’s Class of 1993, the future isn’t bright, and Jay Banksman’s outlook is no exception. Cascadia is a one high-school, one-factory town in which nothing ever changes – until now. After another student goes missing – as if erased from the town – the mysterious girl Jay dreams about each night appears in Cascadia. The situation grow stranger still, when Jay discovers a strange disk: It contains everything about Cascadia, and changes to its code seem to change Cascadia.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Narrated by Adrienne King
Penguin Audio

Read My Review of Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

“The horror master…puts his unique spin on slasher movie tropes.” (USA Today)

A can’t-miss summer book, selected by The New York Times, Oprah Daily, Time, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, LitHub, BookRiot, Bustle, Popsugar, and the New York Public Library.

In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives…but what happens after?

Like his best-selling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films – movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.

Lynette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized – someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

The Stand-In by Lily Chu

The Stand-In by Lily Chu
Narrated by Phillipa Soo
Audible Studios


  • Get fired by gross, handsy boss
  • Fail to do laundry (again)
  • Be mistaken for famous Chinese actress
  • Fall headfirst into glitzy new world

Gracie Reed is doing just fine. Sure, she was fired by her overly “friendly” boss, and, yes, she still hasn’t gotten her mother into the nursing home of their dreams, but she’s healthy, she’s (somewhat) happy, and she’s (mostly) holding it all together.

But when a mysterious SUV pulls up beside her, revealing Chinese cinema’s golden couple Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Gracie’s world is turned on its head. The famous actress has a proposition: due to their uncanny resemblance, Fangli wants Gracie to be her stand-in. The catch? Gracie will have to be escorted by Sam, the most attractive—and infuriating—man Gracie’s ever met.

If it means getting the money she needs for her mother, Gracie’s in. Soon Gracie moves into a world of luxury she never knew existed. But resisting Sam, and playing the role of an elegant movie star, proves more difficult than she ever imagined—especially when she learns the real reason Fangli so desperately needs her help. In the end, all the lists in the world won’t be able to help Gracie keep up this elaborate ruse without losing herself…and her heart.

Daddy’s Little Girl by William Malmborg
Narrated by Allie Piper
Fireside Horror

Being the teenage daughter of a serial killer is fun – except when digging graves. Thankfully, Misty has Bitsy to help her. Plus her daddy pays her with gift cards that she uses online to order things like books, video games, and new outfits to dress up Bitsy with, so really she can’t complain. Now if her daddy would just teach her how to drive, life would be perfect.

Tornadoes are Ramsey’s passion, but after getting too close to one during a chase, he may have to rethink his approach. He also is going to need a new car. And then there is the question of the girl he and his sister found wandering around after the storm. She said the rope marks on her wrists were from a game, but what kind of game would tear flesh like that?

Katie’s goal in life is to become an FBI agent, but right now she is stuck working as a police officer for the tiny town of Smallwood, Illinois. It’s a quiet job. At least it was until the twisters leveled part of the town. Adding to that, two storm chasers found a girl named Bitsy wandering around. She seems traumatized by something. The storm? Or the situation that the storm freed her from? It’s hard to say. One thing is clear, she is very concerned about the welfare of someone named Misty.

The residents of Smallwood thought the twisters were the worst thing that could happen to their town. Little did they know, the storm was just the beginning.

Udo the Warlord by Joshua Gayou

Udo the Warlord by Joshua Gayou
Narrated by Michael Kramer
Audible Studios

Read My Review of Joshua Gayou Books

When war comes to the Worldship, all bets are off.

Udo is chosen to be named count. The title comes with the wealth and privilege he’s always wanted, but he has a nagging feeling it will be more trouble than it’s worth.

Things become complicated as Hanman, counselor to Ditmar the King, coerces Udo into informing against Gerold of the Four Fires, Ditmar’s chief general in the war with Walhaz. Udo resolves to play this part to the best of his ability but is soon horrified when that same general convinces Udo into informing against Hanman. Even worse, both of these men seem openly aware of the other’s scheming and each seems pleased to play Udo against the other, with the newly elevated count ill-equipped to handle all the intrigue.

A surprise assassination carried out in the Ditmar’s very own fortress causes the king to act fast. The army launches with all haste for Walhaz, including Udo, the giant Riese, Gerold, Hanman, and thousands of other soldiers and nobles. Landing in enemy country, Udo must now navigate a war he does not understand along with all of the earlier troubles, and in the meantime, he remembers the commandment from the goddess Ing: He must look after his brother Riese even though Riese seems to have very little interest in being looked after.

Experience the brutal and unforgiving sequel to Udo the Digger, a science fiction and fantasy into a wild adventure that will amuse and surprise even veterans of both genres. It’s perfect for fans of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama, Horizon Zero Dawn, Aurora, and Book of the Long Sun.

Midnight, Water City by Chris Mckinney
Narrated by Richard Ferrone
Recorded Books

Hawai‘i author Chris McKinney’s first entry in a brilliant new sci-fi noir trilogy explores the sordid past of a murdered scientist, deified in death, through the eyes of a man who once committed unspeakable crimes for her.

Year 2142: Earth is 30 years past a near-collision with the asteroid Sessho-seki. Akira Kimura, the scientist responsible for eliminating the threat, has reached heights of celebrity approaching deification. But now, Akira feels her safety is under threat, so after years without contact, she reaches out to her former head of security, who has since become a police detective.

When he arrives at her deep-sea home and finds Akira methodically dismembered, this detective will risk everything – his career, his family, even his own life – and delve back into his shared past with Akira to find her killer. With a rich, cinematic voice and burning cynicism, Midnight, Water City is both a thrilling neo-noir procedural and a stunning exploration of research, class, climate change, the cult of personality, and the dark sacrifices we are willing to make in the name of progress.

Ascension by Oliver Harris

Ascension by Oliver Harris
Narrated by James Langton
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

British spy Elliot Kane is forced out of semi-retirement to investigate a colleague’s suspicious death on Ascension Island, a remote and rocky outpost of the British military in the middle of the Atlantic.

Despite uncovering a deep plot to incite a new world war, Elliot Kane has been on probation with the service since his misadventures in Kazakhstan. Having taken up a job teaching college literature and linguistics, he surprisingly enjoys living a conventional life and wonders if he would even go back to spycraft. Then a colleague from an ages-ago mission reaches out with a request. One of her tech specialists was on a long-term mission, in deep cover, but has suddenly killed himself. The agency is afraid to finish this vital mission without knowing what prompted this seemingly healthy man to take his own life. The carrot in this offer is helping his old friend; the stick is a worse punishment from the Agency if he doesn’t comply. So Elliott poses as an academic researcher and heads to one of the most remote places on the planet, Ascension Island.

Arriving on a rocky, barely livable island located in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Brazil and Angola, Kane is unsure whom to trust and why this lonely outpost is so important to the British military…until he uncovers dangerous secrets that lead straight back to London’s highest offices.

XOXO by Axie Oh

XOXO by Axie Oh
Narrated by Greta Jung
HarperCollins Publishers

Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.

Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.

With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.

Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.

When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love. XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh.

Breeder by Honni van Rijswijk

Breeder by Honni van Rijswijk
Narrated by Emmett Grosland
Blackstone Publishing

Will Meadows is a seemingly average 15-year-old Westie who lives and works in Zone F, the run-down outermost ring of the Corporation. In the future state of the Corp, a person’s value comes down to productivity: The right actions win units; the wrong ones lose them. If Will is unlucky and goes into unit debt, there’s only one place to go: the Rator. But for Zone F Breeders, things are much worse – they’re born into debt and can only accrue units through reproduction.

Every day in Zone F is a struggle, especially for Will who is fighting against time for access to an illegal medical drug, Crystal 8. Under the cover of night, Will travels to the Gray Zone, where life is less regulated and drugs – and people – are exchanged for gold. There, Will meets Rob, a corrupt member of the Corporation running a Breeder smuggling operation. Will also meets Alex, another teen whom he quickly recognizes as a Breeder in disguise.

Suddenly, Will has an illicit job and money, access to Crystal, and a real friend. As the pair grows closer, Alex shares her secret: She is part of the Response, an uprising to overthrow the Corporation. Caught up in the new friendship, Will and Alex become careless as the two covertly travel into Zone B for a day of adventure. Nothing goes as planned, and Will’s greatest fear is realized. Will his true identity be revealed?

An Ugly Truth by Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang

An Ugly Truth by Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang
Narrated by Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang, Holter Graham

“The ultimate takedown.” (New York Times Book Review)

Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook’s fall from grace.

Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech.

The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook’s engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world’s most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts.

Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take listeners inside the complex court politics, alliances, and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly, but an inevitability – this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st-century executives – he the tech “boy genius” turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is co-opted by hate-mongers, criminals, and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.


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